HHS Hosts Pride Summit and Celebrates Pride Month
Cross-posted from: HHS Press Office
Day-long event brought together hundreds of advocates and allies, Administration leaders, for celebration of Pride month and discussions about support for LGBTQI+ community
On Monday, June 26, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hosted a Pride Summit featuring hundreds of advocates and allies from the LGBTQI+ community and leaders from across the Biden-Harris Administration. The HHS Pride Summit highlighted key accomplishments of the Biden Administration including efforts to improve access to health care services, health equity, support for identity affirmation, and civil rights, as well as forward-looking conversations about continued support for the LGBTQI+ community.
Secretary Xavier Becerra opened the Summit with remarks that highlighted the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to expanding health equity, supporting gender-affirming care, and defending LGBTQI+ rights. He also detailed numerous ways HHS had celebrated Pride month.
“Supporting the LGBTQI+ community is a top priority for me and HHS. Equity runs at the heart of every initiative we take on here,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “We are facing daunting challenges right now – with some politicians spewing hateful rhetoric and imposing restrictions against the LGBTQI+ community. But, thanks to the leadership of President Biden, I am confident we will make it through this moment.”
In addition to the Secretary, HHS and Administration officials participating in the Summit included: Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
White House Deputy National Mpox Coordinator Demetre Daskalakis, HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson, SAMHSA Policy Lab Director Brian Altman. HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Marion McFadden, Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine, Director of HHS Office of Civil Rights Melanie Fontes Rainer, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White House Harold Phillips, Senior Advisor for LGBTQI+ Health Equity at OASH Adrian Shanker, and more.
Outside participants in the Summit included: Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign and Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Arli Christian, Trans Justice Strategist from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Casey Pick, Director of Law and Policy for the Trevor Project, Julie Seaver, Executive Director of the Compass LGBTQ Community Center of Florida, Robert Salcido, Executive Director of the Pride Center San Antonio and Kelley Blair, Founder of the Diversity Center of Oklahoma.
Throughout the day, Administration and HHS leaders detailed the historic actions taken by the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that LGBTQI+ communities – youth, adults, families, caretakers, and providers – have the resources and support they need and deserve. Actions include:
- As of today, the federal website that HHS launched last month, FindSupport.Gov, will have new resources for LGBTQI+ individuals seeking access to inclusive and affirming mental health care and supports, and how to avoid and deal with harmful approaches like ‘conversion therapy.’ FindSupport.Gov is a new user-friendly website, designed for the general public, to help people identify available resources, explore unbiased information about various treatment options, and learn how to reach out to get the support they need for issues related to mental health, drugs, or alcohol.
- Making historic investments in youth mental health to make sure all our kids have the chance to thrive.
Earlier in June, announcing that HHS will soon issue a Behavioral Health Care Advisory on Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth to provide evidence-based practices for mental health providers.
- Releasing guidance to state child welfare agencies that makes clear that states should use their child welfare systems to advance safety and support for LGBTQI+ youth, which includes access to gender-affirming care;
- Releasing guidance on patient privacy to clarify that health care providers are not required to disclose private patient information related to gender-affirming care;
- Issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act – which we’re working hard to finalize – to codify protections for transgender people in both health care and health insurance coverage. HHS SAMHSA has also released an LGBTQI+ Family Support Grant to provide $1.7 million in federal funding for programs that prevent health and behavioral health risks for LGBTQI+ youth (including suicide and homelessness) by helping families to affirm and support their LGBTQI+ child. This NOFO will close on July 3rd.
[On] June 26, Secretary Becerra also spoke to a national coalition of health care professionals that provide gender-affirming care to the LGBTQI+ community. The Secretary offered his support and admiration for their work and shared that the Biden-Harris Administration has their back. He was joined by Office for Civil Rights Director Melanie Fontes Rainer and DOJ Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke.
HHS also celebrated Pride month with several different activities and actions:
- Secretary Becerra has traveled around the country for events celebrating the LGBTQI+ community, including a roundtable with LGBTQI+ youth on mental health and an event focused on access to gender-affirming-care for transgender individuals.
- HHS raised the inclusive Progress Pride flag at headquarters in Washington D.C., and at its different agency headquarters, and regional offices across the nation. HHS was also the first federal agency in U.S. history to fly the transgender pride flag outside its headquarters in 2022.
- Secretary Becerra and Admiral Levine marched in the DC Pride parade and led a contingent of HHS appointees and their families to show that HHS supports the LGBTQI+ community; regional leaders have attended Pride parades and other Pride month events.
- Multiple agency heads and Assistant Secretaries at HHS have met with LGBTQI+ stakeholders and members of the community to listen and pledge their ongoing commitment to action on behalf of LGBTQI+ individuals and their health and well-being.